The Maxime Simoëns
look came into sharper focus today. As this new collection affirmed, the Simoëns aesthetic is very, very French—think of it as the love child of Isabel Marant and Balmain in its current, Olivier Rousteing–helmed incarnation. The look is très sexy, très fitted, très short, with a taste for graphic embellishment courtesy of the Balmain bloodline, and a touch of boho from the Marant DNA. As fashion formulas go, thatís not a bad one; you immediately grasp that the market exists for those clothes. The question raised by this collection was whether Simoëns is going to develop the right touch to pull his program off. The evidence here weighed both yea and nay. The paneled looks often came off clunky, and pieces such as the low-slung silk track pants, zip-detailed about the ankle, should have looked insouciant and sporty but instead read as overthought. On the other hand, Simoëns hit his stride with the fringed leather pieces: In a look that paired a color-blocked black-and-turquoise collared blouse with a fringed leather mini, you saw the Simoëns girl very, very clearly. Long story short: Simoënsí strategy is right, but his execution still needs a bit of finesse. He seems to be moving in the right direction, however.